(Image courtesy CDC)

(Image courtesy CDC)

State COVID-19 cases continue surge

Alaska remains the state with the highest number of new cases per capita in the country.

The state Department of Health and Social Services reported another COVID-19 death Friday — an Anchorage man in his 50s — pushing the number of state coronavirus-related deaths to 557 since the pandemic began.

There have been more than 700,000 COVID deaths nationwide, according to the New York Times, and Alaska remains the state with the highest number of new cases per capita in the country.

DHSS announced another 1,044 positive COVID cases Friday as Alaska remained at a high alert level — estimating a seven-day rolling average of 1,1064.3 cases per 100,000 people across the state.

The threshold for high alert levels is 100 or more cases per 100,000 people. The state has surpassed that metric more than 10 times over.

Friday’s new case count included 17 in Kenai, 16 in Soldotna, 10 in Homer, six in Sterling, two each in Anchor Point, the Kenai Peninsula Borough North and Seward, and one in the Kenai Peninsula Borough South.

Statewide, there were 215 COVID-related hospitalizations as of Friday.

At Central Peninsula Hospital there were 19 COVID patients on Friday morning — 16 unvaccinated — with six of them in the intensive care unit and five on ventilators. The hospital as a whole was operating at 106% capacity.

Health officials widely agree that choosing to get vaccinated is the single best tool there is to protect the people in each community.

The Pfizer-BioNTech, now marketed as the Comirnaty vaccine, received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration for anyone 16 and older in August.

Pfizer is still available via emergency use authorization in accordance to FDA guidelines for kids 12 to 15 years old, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen shots have an EUA for anyone 18 and older.

Across the state, 58.1% of everyone 12 and up was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday. Another 63.3% had received at least one shot.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s vaccination rate continues to lag behind many other regions.

As of Friday, 50.6% of people 12 and older were fully vaccinated and another 52.7% had received at least one dose. The only census area to have a lower vaccination rate as of Friday was the Matanuska-Susitna region, at 41.9%.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

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